In this video I share with you three keys to unlocking the perfect walk with your dog. Everyone’s idea of “perfect” is different, however, knowing what a healthy practice is for dogs and humans alike leads me to my simple definition: a stress free leash activity that both you and your dog can enjoy together.
Whether you want to go for a morning run with your dog without getting accidentally pulled into traffic when a rabbit runs by, or simply take a relaxing stroll to get some fresh air with your dog after a long day of work, having these 3 keys down pat will ensure that you are able to do so.
In this video I break down the perfect walk into 3 key elements:
**MIND** Your dog needs to be in the right frame of mind well before you begin your walk to set the tone for success. This should be a calm state of mind with controlled excitement. Too much excitement can lead to reactivity in a given environment where there otherwise may not be. You, the handler should also be in the right frame of mind. If you are anxious or have had a bad day, take a moment to take 3 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth to relax. This will help you from accidentally creating and communicating tension.
**LEASH** Your leash should not have any tension when walking with your dog. Whether your dog is in a nice heel by your side or allowed to roam freely within a 4 foot distance of you, the leash should remain nice and loose. Tension in the leash creates tension in the body and can confuse communication through the leash from your hands to your dog. Tension can also cause increased reactivity.
**AWARENESS** Your dog should remain “checked in” with you. This doesn’t mean that they are looking at you nonstop, or cannot smell an item walking by here or there while casually walking, it simply means that they have a level of awareness as to what you are doing at all times. If you change directions or pace, your dog readily does so as well and is not surprised by your change in direction or pace.
If you’ve accomplished these three things, you are in an excellent position to be demonstrating the perfect walk. If your dog isn’t there yet and pulls you in every direction, not to worry, that’s what practice is for! Check out the homework in the video to help get you closer to your goal of a stress-free leash activity that will be enjoyable for both you and your dog.
For a couple of Pro Tips to help get you there, check out my Medium article, Keys to Unlocking the Perfect Walk
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